Whiteboy Kimchi

“Ever had whiteboy kimchi? Ask me & I’ll show you the way!” says Chef John Memering. After leaving the restaurant, the former Owner and Executive Chef of Cactus bistro decided to shift his focus from the daily grind of the business to just simply, making food.

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His latest venture, Loho Street Farms allows him to make food the way he wants, when he wants–selling anything and everything you can think of in a bottle, can or jar.

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Chutney, jams, pickles, sauces and soups. It’s all those little extras. Often overlooked and under appreciated, taking days to make. That little something to turn the everyday into five star.

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From homemade vanilla extract to authentic Mexican chile adobo. It’s all that hard work you don’t have time for pre-packed in a jar.

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With roots in Oregon and Hawaii, Loho Street’s style is all over the place. There are no rules and rarely recipes in the conventional sense. With 30yrs+ in the food industry, John makes what he’s inspired to do in the moment, using whatever he can get his hands on. He’s very much a mad scientist. So sample to your taste and be sure to ask for recommendations.

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Interested in knowing more about the kimchi, John offers to show us the way. Originally dubbed superkraut, it was renamed after he gave a sample to his Korean neighbor. “That’s not sauerkraut. That’s whiteboy kimchi,” she says.

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John knows all good recipes start with a good cocktail, so naturally we’re given champagne and campari on arrival. He then begins chopping a mix of veggies. The softer, more porous cut thicker and harder more dense, cut thinner. The mix varies from batch to batch depending on what’s fresh and available. This time, broccoli and daikon, other times kale and edamame.

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“Tired of watching things go to waste,” John says he tries to buy surplus from local farms. When asked if he tries to buy organic, he says “forget organic, just local.” That’s what matters.

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In addition to a mix of veggies and cabbage, one thing that is constant are the chilis. Starting the week before, chilis are smoked using whatever’s in stock. Mesquite, alderwood, kiawe, sometimes even coconut husks. Then lightly fermented and chopped.

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Along with gochugaru and gochujang, four to one kosher salt to big island raw sugar, and a healthy serving of sliced garlic for flavor and natural yeast. Everything is mixed and massaged together and covered in a secret pickling juice. It’s then transferred to jars, CO2 siphoned out, then fermented for up to a week. The result is a high acid crunchy kraut with lots of garlic and Korean chili.

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I took the previous weeks batch home, planning to eat on a hotdog in place of sauerkraut. But it didn’t last. It disappeared in a couple days over simple white rice and curry. Ever had whiteboy kimchi? Get some on Loho Street.

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Loho Street Schedule

Location: Time:
Honolulu Farmer Market
Kailua Farmers Market
Aloha Tower Farmers Market
KCC Farmers Market
Wed 4-7p
Thur 5-730p
Fri 4-7p
Sat 730-11a

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